The Red Sox and Orioles split a doubleheader on Saturday, and in the second game Nelson Cruz hit a solo home run off John Lackey to help his team to 7-4 win. It was Cruz's 27th homer of the season, tying him with Jose Abreu for the MLB lead.
Cruz also doubled twice in the game, including once off Lackey. Following the game, the Red Sox right-hander made it pretty clear he was not happy about getting beat by a player who was suspended for his ties to performance-enhancing drugs just last season. From the Baltimore Sun:
“I'm not even going to comment on him,” Lackey said. “I've got nothing to say about him. There are some things that I would like to say, but I'm not going to. You guys forget pretty conveniently about stuff.”
Lackey doesn't come out and say he's upset about Cruz's PED ties, but it's pretty obvious that that's what he's referring too. Cruz responded without controversy on Sunday morning:
Cruz is used to being the villain at opposing parks. Didn't seem terribly concerned with Lackey's opinion saying: "Anyone can talk."— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) July 6, 2014
Cruz said he's used to some people not liking him. Said he can't do anything about that. #orioles— Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) July 6, 2014
Orioles manager Buck Showalter was little more vocal about his displeasure when asked about Lackey's comments. From ESPN.com:
"There's so many insinuations, quite frankly, about people in every club. You usually don't hear those comments after a shutout or something," Showalter said.
"I mean [Lackey's] doing really well. He's up throwing 93, 95 again and he's got one of the top ERAs in the American League, which with the DH means all of baseball. He's a good pitcher, so God bless him. He was good yesterday."
"Considering the timing of things, it's one of those things that you keep quiet about it and it reflects poorly upon the person who said it," Showalter said. "He might want to be careful."
The Red Sox have been one of the most outspoken teams against PEDs since last year's Biogenesis scandal. Jonny Gomes said "I hope our (union) dues aren't being used for (Alex Rodriguez's) lawyers' fees" last summer, and of course there was Ryan Dempster throwing at A-Rod. Lackey's little outburst is just the latest bit of anti-PED news to come out of Boston.
Based on the All-Star voting, the majority of fans do not care (or don't care all that much) about PEDs. The players care though and it's easy to understand why. They're being cheated and in some cases losing roster spots to players with an unfair advantage.
The testing system is in place though, and Lackey agreed to it by virtue of being a member of the MLBPA. Cruz's PED ties don't absolve Lackey of his poor outing.
Also, I'm pretty sure no one (fans, media, etc.) has "pretty conveniently" forgotten about Cruz's PED past. It's mentioned every time he gets a hit, homer or otherwise.